Monday, July 6, 2020

I love this Country Too Much to Be Quiet

On July 4, 1776, the unanimous voice of the thirteen states declared our independence, and this glorious republic was founded. The enduring words of our Declaration of Independence continue to inspire us to do better: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness—that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.  What a heritage we have and what history in these almost 2 ½ centuries. I, for one, am proud to be an American and am unashamed to declare it! The United States of America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth! Our country is 244 years old today; although flawed in many ways, she still is the best example of democracy in the world.

My mother used to say, “sick and tired.” She would sometimes say to us, kids, “I’m sick and tired of the way you are acting.” Well, I am sick and tired of the lawlessness, the anarchy, the looting, the vandalism, the destruction of property, the pulling down of historical monuments, the wanton disrespect to police and law enforcement, the endless cries of racism, the unprovoked attacks on innocent people by violent thugs, and the hatred of our country and the complicit endorsement of all this by the media. I am sick and tired of politicians defending this lawlessness and refusing to support law enforcement. I am sick and tired of the blatant refusal to control the lawless rioters and protestors while obsessed with control of lawful citizens by tyrant politicians.

I have never seen anything in my life like what I am witnessing on the streets of American cities. Enough about race! Anyone with half a brain can see this is about dividing race—not healing the divide. Race relations have been set back 50 years! Enough about police brutality! We now see brutality toward police and random helpless people. People are even afraid to speak out and give their opinion—terrified they will be considered a racist. I am sick and tired of hearing every other day of something that is canceled, replaced, renamed, or retitled because someone is offended. I am offended that there are so many simple-minded people who are willing to go along with all this stupidity.

Do I support Black Lives Matter? The answer is an emphatic, yes! However, I do not support the organization that goes by that name. These radicals have given us a vivid preview of the reign of terror they would institute. They have shown us how judgmental and racist they really are as they call for all whites to bow and all police to turn over law enforcement to them. Mind you that the majority of these loud-mouthed agitators are white—but identifying as black. The anarchy we are seeing is much akin to the French Revolution, which initiated a reign of terror. What else does “Unless we get what we are asking for we will burn the system down” mean? (recently spoken by a BLM leader).

If these agitators want socialism or communism, there are plenty of places they can find it where it is still struggling along. Why should they take our freedoms away to make another Cuba, Venezuela, or China? They tell us they want to distribute wealth and make everyone equal. Well, ask the people who live under communism and see how fair the system really is.

It’s clear to me that the main agenda of these anarchists is not race relations or police brutality but the removal of President Trump from office. They are afraid that he will be reelected, so they are trying to keep the country in a state of unrest so they can disrupt the election in November. Their target is not only Trump but anyone who supports him. Enough about your hatred of President Trump! If you don’t like him, then vote him out!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Overcoming Discouragement

Overcoming discouragement is one of the most important things all of us have to do in life. Discouragement and disillusionment almost always come after unfulfilled expectations. Several people in the Bible found themselves picking up the pieces of shattered dreams and even despaired of their lives. They were Job, Moses, Jeremiah, Jonah, and Elijah. Let’s take a look at Elijah so that we can see ourselves in his depression and sadness.

Elijah was an extraordinary character in the Bible, a man of extreme faith and courage. However, there is a scene where he is sitting under a broom tree, and this is what he says, “I have had enough, Lord…take my life; I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4). How did the prophet get to this place?

Three and half years prior, he announced to King Ahab a coming drought for the nation.  Then Elijah disappeared, and God miraculously provided for him during these years, first, by having ravens bring him food and then by sustaining him through the care of a poor widow woman. The scripture declares: “For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry” (1 Kings 17:16). Elijah even raised her little boy from the dead.

Later at God’s command, Elijah challenged Ahab and his 450 prophets of Baal to a showdown. The prophets would prepare a sacrifice and call on their God, he would do the same, and the God who answered by fire would be the one true God. Baal never responded to his prophets, but the God of Israel responded to Elijah’s prayer, “Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord-he is God! The Lord-he is God!”
(1 Kings 18:38-39).

Elijah was ecstatic, and he prayed for rain, and it came. He then outran King Ahab’s chariot in a twenty-mile race to the palace. Elijah expected things to be different now. Then came the moment he realized they were not. The furious Queen Jezebel sent Elijah this message, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them” (1 Kings 19:2-4). Elijah was overcome with fear, so he ran for his life. He ran until he could run no more and collapsed of fatigue, and there he asked God to take his life because he had had enough.

God sent an angel to minister to Elijah in his discouragement: The angel woke him up and gave him food to eat and let him rest. Then again, he woke him and gave him more food (1 Kings 19:5-7). God showed his love for the prophet is such a gentle way.

Several signs help us to discover why Elijah wound up in this state of depression: First, he was fatigued after traveling nearly 200 miles. When we fail to take care of our bodies, we are at risk. Second, he had isolated himself from everyone. When we cut ourselves off from others, we are in a dangerous position. Third, Elijah experienced a roller-coaster of emotions—highs and lows. Extreme emotions take a toll on us. We can’t live on feelings alone. Fourth, he experienced unmet expectations, which caused him to be disillusioned. Fifth, he experienced fear, which caused him to run for his life. Sixth, he felt guilt and shame, which are powerful forces if left unchecked. Seventh, this was a spiritual battle, and we need spiritual intervention from God to overcome a spiritual enemy that is seeking to destroy our lives.